iPhone X edged out by iPhone 8 (and Note 8), says Consumer Reports

Commentary: In its final review of Apple's latest phone, the consumer publication points to durability as the X's weakness.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.

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Will Apple weep at this review?

James Martin/CNET

It was, apparently, so close.

Yet the iPhone X , Apple's future of the smartphone, just wasn't quite good enough. Not quite, indeed, as good as the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus .

That's the curious conclusion of the testers at Consumer Reports

The consumer assistance publication contorts itself to be nice, like a British public head telling parents their child doesn't quite measure up to the school's requirements.

The X's camera is "fanstastic" and the display is "beautiful." The very best phones -- among which the X found a place -- are separated by a mere couple of points on a scale of 100.

The big question, however, is the phone's durability. The respected publication concluded that the 8 and 8 Plus "both proved hardier in a test designed to reproduce the drops and fumbles that can cause cracked screens and other damage."

As soon as the X emerged, my colleagues at CNET conducted their own durability and drop test and discovered that it cracked the very first time it was dropped. 

The glass back isn't exactly conducive to rugged treatment. Still, the 8 and 8 Plus have glass backs too. Consumer Reports insists these phones are "more resistant to breaking."

Battery life is another area in which iPhone X displeased the testers.

Even more painfully, perhaps, the publication ranks the X lower than the Samsung  Galaxy S8 , the S8+ and the Note 8. 

Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Apple has, though, in the past had a slight contretemps with Consumer Report. At the end of last year, the publication offered a critical view of the MacBook Pro . The issue was ultimately resolved.

It's not as if Apple is the lone manufacturer to get a less than perfect review. Microsoft had its Surface tablets un-recommended by the publication

Still, as I've discovered in my wanderings around different carrier stores (and Best Buy), the most important thing is how a phone feels to you, how much you want to pay, how much you're embedded in an ecosystem and whether the store salesman would really prefer it if you buy something else.

Indeed, last week, a T-Mobile salesman happily told me that the 8 Plus was better than the X. (My colleague Scott Stein begged to differ in his review.)

I fear there won't be too many teeth gnashing in Cupertino. Apple reportedly sold 6 million iPhone X handsets over the Black Friday weekend.

Even more reassuringly, I haven't seen any reports of iPhone X devices exploding.

iPhone X vs. iPhone 8 Plus photo samples

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